I was doing my major grocery shopping on Friday night. The store wasn’t too busy – not like Friday nights used to be way back when they were open till 9 pm only on Thursdays and Fridays, till 6 pm the rest of the time and closed on Sundays. (Wow. How did working people ever manage to get any grocery shopping done with such limited hours back then?!)
As I was pushing my trolley round the store, it occurred to me that this was a terribly middle-aged thing to do, grocery shopping on a Friday night. Aren’t most people out with friends or doing some interesting activity on Friday nights?
And then it hit me. I AM middle-aged!
This is a difficult concept for me to comprehend. I am a baby boomer, and as such, there has always been more of us than of them. Whole subdivisions have been built to house our parents and us. New parks were created so we could play. Entire schools were constructed to educate us. Products were invented for us, advertisers catered to us. Hell, a whole culture grew around my demographic – everything revolved around us always!
I am not a first-wave boomer, meaning that I was too young to really be a part of the sixties generation. I was just a little kid in the sixties, but I do remember my dad taking us downtown to “look at the hippies” and being quite fascinated by the clothes and especially the hair. As I approached double-digits in age, I recall the protests and social unrest of the times – not that there was a lot of that in Vancouver, but I know I knew about it. I even remember Greenpeace coming into existence. And even though I came to it later, almost after the fact, the incredible music of that time made an indelible impression upon me, too.
And I, like probably every other boomer, took it for granted that I would be important forever. I would always be part of the generation that turned the world on its side, the target group of every study and every campaign. We would be young forever, everyone would want to be one of us forever.
And now I’m actually middle-aged? Seriously???
Logically, I knew it was coming. I realized a decade or two ago that the current music was just noise to my ears. I understood that many of the latest fashion trends were just ridiculous for a woman my age to wear. I’ve been colouring my hair for a number of years now (I keep asking my hairdresser to only colour the gray hair, but she keeps laughing at me, little twenty-something that she is). I’ve noticed more bodily aches and pains, less energy, some unwelcome changes to my shape. I think more about aging and illness and – gulp! – death.
But emotionally, it’s hard to come to terms with.
I keep thinking that, as a boomer, I am part of the generation that seems to be redefining aging. We are NOT going “gentle into that good night”. We are getting older kicking and screaming, something I’m not sure that our parents did as overtly as we are. We are trying to hang on to our youth, to be seen to be younger than our parents were at the same age. We want to keep what we consider our rightful place at the centre of the universe. Is that right or fair to those who follow us? I don’t know, but either we’re onto something, or else there’s just too many of us for any other demographic group to push back.
Well, in my head, I’m only 25. But I’m very wise for my age.